Vladimir Putin told tens of thousands of supporters at a rally in downtown Moscow that he had won Sunday's presidential elections in a “fair and open fight."
Mr. Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev in downtown Moscow
""I told you we would win and we won!" said a jubilant Putin, flanked by outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev, told a crowd of tens of thousands of supporters at a rally in downtown Moscow.
"We urge everyone to unite around the interests of Russia," he added, his voice cracking with emotion and his eyes moist.
According to preliminary results, Putin is leading with about 63.4 of the vote. His closest competitor Gennady Zyuganov, has gained about 17 percent of the vote.
There was a heavy security presence in downtown Moscow, with trucks full of riot police parked outside major metro stations.
The mood at Putin headquarters was celebratory.
“This was the cleanest election in Russian history," Putin campaign chief Stanislav Govorukhin said.
“Today is a clear sign that the people have made their choice for a great Russia,” said Russian film director and Putin supporter Nikita Mikhalkov. “The part of the opposition that does not listen to anything and tries to declare the elections illegitimate doesn’t interest Putin.”